When Joshua first heard Chucho Valdes and his band, Irakere, in Switzerland, he realized, “this is what I want to do; compose music like this…”. Joshua also met McCoy Tyner at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California, and McCoy said, “I can see the fire in your eyes.” It was the energy of Chucho’s music that drew Joshua to Banff in 1994. There we were fortunate to meet Chucho, the band Irakere, dancers and other musicians from Cuba. Then in 2013, again at the Banff Centre, Vijay Iyer, the director of the Jazz Workshop, commented in the Piano Master Classes on the careful choice of notes in Josh’s phrases. Joshua’s foundation, however, came from studies with Dr. Barry Harris, world-famous pianist, composer and educator. At Joshua’s first clinic, while a student at McGill University in Montreal, Barry was taken by a classmate’s ability in the left-hand. “I learned then”, Joshua recalled, “about the beauty of the lower octaves of the piano”.
In 2012, Joshua recorded with Juno-winner, bassist, Brandi Disterheft and drummer, Leroy Williams, forming the group, “the Jazz Descendants”. Leroy has toured and recorded with Dr. Barry Harris for decades. The album RED features original compositions of all the musicians and the music is “dedicated to Barry Harris who continues to generously invest his life and talent to inspiring jazz descendants everywhere.” The album was produced by award-winning sound mixer, Daniel Pellerin. In the summer of 2014, the album made the top 10 of many radio stations in Canada. Many other life experiences have influenced Josh’s music as well. From working with people who have disabilities, to teaching English in Taiwan and Europe, to dishwashing at Banff, to studies in California, to writing music for film and theatre in Toronto.
Josh’s supportive family and spouse and friends have helped his music come to fruition. Now studying in New York, Joshua has recently composed two works for symphony orchestra, works with Common Ground, a band drawing from music of various genres, and continues to compose and work with love for “the Jazz Descendants”.